South Korea's Presidential Office said today that a plan to ban trading cryptocurrencies via exchanges in the nation is still not set in stone.
The office spoke out after news reports indicated Wednesday that the South Korean Justice Department is planning legislation that would pave the way for exchanges in the country to be shut down to largely halt cryptocurrency trading. Reuters reported soon after that the Justice Ministry had said that a bill was forthcoming.
This morning, however, Reuters cited a Presidential Office spokesman as informing reporters:
"Justice Minister Park's comments related to the shutdown of cryptocurrency exchanges is one of the measures prepared by the Ministry of Justice, but it's not a measure that has been finalized."
Further, even if approved, the legislation is unlikely to come into effect anytime soon. Reuters states in the earlier article: "Legislation for an outright ban of virtual coin trading will require a majority vote of the total 297 members of the National Assembly, a process that could take months or even years."
Still, the fear of clampdown could remain in the air as the Korean government mulls its options for curbing what it sees as excess speculation in the crypto markets.
According to another Reuters report over the intensifying moves against Korea's bitcoin exchanges, Bithumb and Coinone were raided by police and tax office officials on yesterday and today. Employees of the exchanges reportedly said officials visited their offices amid an investigation into alleged tax evasion.
Over the last 24 hours, concerns over the reports emanating from South Korea – a major crypto market – have sent the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies diving. At press time, a bitcoin was worth $13,780, according to the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index.
Bitcoins image via Shutterstock